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China should be neutral if North Korea fires first on U.S. - Global Times

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China should be neutral if North Korea fires first on U.S. - Global Times

By Ben Blanchard and James Oliphant

 

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A man walks in front of a monitor showing news of North Korea's fresh threat in Tokyo, Japan, August 10, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

 

BEIJING/BEDMINSTER, N.J. (Reuters) - China should remain neutral if North Korea launches an attack that threatens the United States, a Chinese state-run newspaper said on Friday, sounding a warning for Pyongyang over its plans to fire missiles near the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam.

 

The comments from the influential Global Times came after U.S. President Donald Trump stepped up his rhetoric against North Korea again on Thursday, saying his earlier threat to unleash "fire and fury" on Pyongyang if it launched an attack may not have been tough enough.

 

China, North Korea's most important ally and trading partner, has reiterated calls for calm during the current crisis. Beijing has expressed frustration with both Pyongyang's repeated nuclear and missile tests and with behaviour from South Korea and the United States, such as military drills, that it sees as escalating tensions.

 

"China should also make clear that if North Korea launches missiles that threaten U.S. soil first and the U.S. retaliates, China will stay neutral," the Global Times, which is widely read but does not represent government policy, said in an editorial.

 

"If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so," it said.

 

North Korea's state-run KCNA news agency said on Thursday its army would complete plans in mid-August to fire four intermediate-range missiles over Japan to land near Guam.

 

Trump said North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was not going to get away with his "horrific" comments and disrespecting America.

 

"Let's see what he does with Guam. He does something in Guam, it will be an event the likes of which nobody's seen before, what will happen in North Korea," Trump told reporters in New Jersey, without offering specifics.

 

Shortly after Trump spoke, U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis told reporters the United States still preferred a diplomatic approach to the North Korean threat and a war would be "catastrophic".

 

Asked if the United States was ready if North Korea made a hostile act, he said: "We are ready."

 

DRILLS AS TENSIONS RISE

 

Tension in the region has risen since the reclusive North, which staged two nuclear bomb tests last year and launched two intercontinental ballistic missile tests in July in defiance of world powers. Trump has said he would not allow Pyongyang to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the United States.

 

On Thursday, U.S. and Japanese troops began an 18-day live fire exercise on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, which was to include rocket artillery drills and involve 3,500 troops. 

 

The Northern Viper drills are one of the scheduled exercises that Japan's Self Defence Forces conducts regularly with their U.S. counterparts and are not a response to the latest tensions.

 

South Korean and U.S. troops are also gearing up for an annual joint drill from Aug. 21, called the Ulchi Freedom Guardian, where up to 30,000 U.S. troops will take part.

 

South Korean President Moon Jae-in is expected to deliver a speech next week to mark Liberation Day, when the Korean peninsula secured freedom from the rule of Japan. Moon is likely to highlight his policy on North Korea on the holiday, the only one the two Koreas share.

 

The United States and South Korea remain technically still at war with North Korea after the 1950-53 Korean conflict ended with a truce, not a peace treaty.

 

The tensions between North Korea and the United States spurred a broad stock market sell-off. The U.S. benchmark S&P 500 stock index closed down 1.4 percent, marking the biggest one-day drop since May. Asian shares fell on Friday with South Korea's KOSPI down 1.9 percent.

 

"This situation is beginning to develop into this generation's Cuban Missile crisis moment, with recent leaked intelligence reports alleging that N.Korea now has miniaturised its nuclear warheads, which extends the range of its missiles, and potentially brings U.S. targets into reach," ING's chief Asia economist Robert Carnell said in a research note.

 

"While the U.S. President insists on ramping up the war of words, there is a decreasing chance of any diplomatic solution," he said.

Former defence officials and experts say any new military conflict with North Korea would likely escalate quickly to the use of nuclear weapons, bringing catastrophic casualties not seen since World War Two and an untold economic impact worldwide.

 

Guam, a tropical island more than 3,000 km (2,000 miles) to the southeast of North Korea, is home to about 163,000 people. It has a strategically located U.S. air base, a Navy installation that includes a submarine squadron and a Coast Guard group, and roughly 6,000 U.S. military personnel.

 

Peter Toves, 47, a Guam native who rents out kayaks and jetskis on a private beach, said he feels safe, but threats so specific by Kim were unsettling.

 

"We're just gonna sit down and barbecue here and have fun. There's nothing we can do, just wait," he said.

 

(Additional reporting by Tim Kelly in TOKYO, Christine Kim in SEOUL, Martin Petty in GUAM, Kim Coghill in SINGAPORE; Writing by Lincoln Feast; Editing by Paul Tait)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2017-08-11

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Headline should be ..

 

'"If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so," '

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China is wise to take this position. Now time to sit back and see what happens. Perhaps Kim Dim Sim will meet with an unexpected accident soon.

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9 hours ago, webfact said:

"If the U.S. and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so," it said.

Yes that is the key sentence here as Churchill says.  China quietly confirming that they run the show in East Asia.

 

 

9 minutes ago, jackh said:

China is wise to take this position. Now time to sit back and see what happens. Perhaps Kim Dim Sim will meet with an unexpected accident soon.

Perhaps Don the moron Trump will meet with an accident too.  Only then can sanity return.

  • Like 2

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The Chinese and Russians have moved to the border, the last thing they want are the refugees and the refugees cant get there quick enough! The Chinese want a buffer that is not a Western supporter, they need to facilitate a more reasonable puppet into N Korea, then the problem is solved.

At the moment Kim thinks if he has the weapons he can go to the table in a position of strength, right now he only has one hand to play the threat of a strike, if he strikes then he has no cards to play and the US has the reason to demolish the state, the question then is how sure can the US be of destroying all the Nuclear facilities and weapons without invading, that is the big question and it will leave themselves open to more terrorist attacks possibly with dirty bombs.

No one wants a war and here there are no easy answers.

Obama did nothing but appease, it does not pay, history tells you that, shoving down the road just makes the answer more difficult to deal with but someone in the end has to and for all his faults and all his detractors Trump, not being a politician, will do something, if he does not then expect the North Korean nuclear know how to be exported and the world will become an even more dangerous place.

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The most violent country in the world causing trouble again .....same tired old WMD rhetoric to justify their own aggressive bullying.

  • Like 1

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It has been a problem for many years with NK having thousands of missiles aimed at SK.  To take out all the immediate threats to South Korea is pretty much impossible.  This goes back way beyond Obama or even Bush.  Now we have the N word and the insanity of Trump to match the insanity of Kim.  Given all of that the only answer is diplomacy as ineffective as it appears to be.  Always has been because war isn't an option.

 

Maybe the Chinese could intervene more effectively but I suspect they are enjoying the two clowns embarrassing themselves and getting their respective knickers in a twist.  Makes the Chinese look like grown-ups while the children squabble.

  • Like 1

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11 hours ago, jackh said:

China is wise to take this position. Now time to sit back and see what happens. Perhaps Kim Dim Sim will meet with an unexpected accident soon.

We can all but hope

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BANGKOK 23 July 2018 10:40
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